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Poster: grendelschoice Date: Mar 21, 2007 12:07pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Oh, cmon, let's get it over with

.....and now for something completely predictable (from me, anyway):

1977.

hands down.

why?

OK, here goes:

1) Throw a dart. Hit virtually any 1977 show and you'll have a 5-star winner. 4 and a half at worst. Throw ten darts at May of '77 and you'll do even better. Consistently their finest year ever.
2) Legendary shows: Cornell, Buffalo War Memorial, Boston Garden, Winterland June AND December runs.
3) Songs that had been in rotation for at least 5 years, and many older ones now mastered and feature extended jams not found in previous years (yes, in come cases shorter, i.e. No more 20 minute Other Ones, but I would argue the '77 8-11 minute versions are more focused and played with fire and fury)....back to my main poit, though: songs like Half Step (11/6/77, 5/25/77) now include monster jams not found in earlier versions....ditto Jack Straw, Deal, Bertha, FOTD, and Sugaree (5/5/77).
4) Fewer mistakes. The similar set lists from night to night may not offer the range and "surprise" factor of the previous year, but it also meant they nailed these sonmgs down tight. Jerry remembers most words as does Bob. The playing is at once confident, fluid, furious, effortless.
5) Vocally superior. Jerry still has his voice, and it shines. Belts out rocking tunes like Might as Well (10/29/77) and sings tenderly and beautifully on gems like Ship of Fools (5/9/77) and Comes a Time, not to mention his blues hound voice on Morning Dew (5/8/77). This is what separates '77 from other fine years later like 1981...you can really here Jerry's voice start to lose its range after '77. Even Donna blends better in this year than any other, and sounds especially good trading verses w/Bobby on TMNS.
6) Great new songs debuting along with the old favorites. Come on, folks. This is the year they unleashed Terrapin, Estimated, Passenger, and Fire on the Mountain, which being paired with Scarlet, extended THAT brilliant song to new ecstatic heights and possibilities.
7)Old enough to have been around the block but still young enough to kick out the jams. Jerry is, what--35 years old? I'm not exactly sure, but it's in that mid-30's range. The band has survived the 60's, has matured in sound and execution of playing, but still has the youthful energy to play blazing hot shows long into the night. Not as long as the '72-'73 marathon shows, but I would argue the '77 shows have no let downs (other than the occsassional LLR) whereas those other years have some soft spots among the overall very fine long hauls).
8)Mickey&Billy. The boys are back in town, sounding great together (SugarMag 10/29/77). Yes, they were together again in '76, but not with the same intensity.
9) Great venues. The mid-size and smaller halls (Evan's fieldhouse, Barton Hall, Winterland & others)...provide great acoustics and energy. Yeah, they hit a lot of those places in other years, but not as consistently or as concentrated as in '77.
10) The magnificence that is THE year of the Betty Board. Nothing sounds cleaner, or finer.

1977.

The peak year of the Grateful Dead.

This post was modified by grendelschoice on 2007-03-21 19:07:00

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Poster: JodyC Date: Mar 22, 2007 2:37pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Oh, cmon, let's get it over with

Hey Grendels-please see the band Assembly of Dust at Higher Ground on Sat 4/14.They have a bunch of shows on archive.

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Poster: elkdog Date: Mar 21, 2007 1:11pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Oh, cmon, let's get it over with

Nice post. If I wasn't sure that I'm right about '74, I'd swear you could be on to something with '77. That was indeed a very good year.

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Poster: grendelschoice Date: Mar 21, 2007 2:52pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Oh, cmon, let's get it over with

1974 is a hell of a year, too.

Finest ChinaRiders (only 1 played in '77, though it IS a scorcher --see DP #10), brilliant Eyes of the Worlds (although my favorites are from '77 for sure: 10/29/77, 11/4/77, among the best), some great Dark Stars in '74 (none played in '77).